I want to be able to delete songs off my iPhone by swiping in the Music.app. I know having 'Manually Manage songs' lets you delete songs without them returning after you re-sync everything, but I want it to delete songs from the playlist I have.

I have a playlist for the songs on my phone because I don't want to go through thousands of songs every time I reformat the phone. Manually managing songs just removes it from my phone but not from my playlist.

Is there any way around this?

2 Answers 2


Speaking for iOS 6 (not necessarily older versions):

  1. Open Music.app
  2. Select "Playlists" tab.
  3. Create a new Playlist and put a few songs in there.
  4. Sync your iPhone to to your computer (Wifi or USB)
  5. Make sure iTunes is configured to sync your music and choose "Selected playlists, artists, albums, and genres
  6. My experience was that the playlist I created was automatically selected under "Playlists" in the Music tab of iTunes. If it isn't, select it.
  7. You can now put any song you would like in there and sync.

While it doesn't automatically sync every time a change is made, any time you sync it will reflect changes made on your device. For example, put 10 songs into your new playlist and sync with your iPhone. Then, go into your iPhone and delete a few of those songs out. Sync with iTunes. They shouldn't be in the playlist on iTunes anymore.

I have personally performed the steps to ensure they work. It's not 100% automatic, but with Wifi sync, it is almost that way.

  • Nah, I have ios 6 on the Iphone 5. I will double check if it deletes it off the playlist. It didnt when i first turned on Manual manage. when I do have manual manage turned on it turns off the options in the auto-sync settings..does this mean that any new songs i add to that playlist wont sync when i plug in my phone?
    – Queball
    Commented Jan 4, 2013 at 3:56
  • @Queball, Ok, I am sorry about that. I must have misunderstood your goal. Scenario: you manually put ~1000 songs on your iPhone. Your desire is to swipe a song (in songs tab) and have it completely removed from the device? Is that what you are trying to do, or am I missing it completely? Commented Jan 4, 2013 at 15:02
  • My goal is to have a playlist on my itunes which I can add songs to and have automatically sync to my iphone, but also being able to delete a song manually off my iphone and making it adjust the playlist on my itunes
    – Queball
    Commented Jan 4, 2013 at 18:49
  • @Queball, Now I understand. I really missed it the first time. Let's see if my edit helps. Commented Jan 4, 2013 at 19:09

Instead of manually managing your music, you want to have a single playlist synced to your iPhone. Then when you remove something from the playlist on your phone, it will be removed from the playlist on your computer, as well.

Uncheck "Manually manage music and videos," and then go to the "Music" tab. Instead of choosing to sync your entire music library, choose "Selected playlists…" and only enable the one(s) you want synced.

I have confirmed that this solves your question, though only if you edit the playlist itself. In other words, when you swipe to delete something from your library (artist/album/genre/etc.) instead of the synced playlist, it returns on the next sync.

It can be hard to find and delete a single song in a long playlist, so I'd recommend syncing a folder of playlists instead of just one monolithic one.

  • I realize (in hindsight) that my answer recommends an equivalent course of action as bassplayer7's, but as it includes additional information, I have not removed it. Commented Jan 9, 2013 at 5:31

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